The Unusual Suspects Festival is all about conversations that connect across our differences. More than ever, we need conversations that nurture empathy and understanding. The Festival provides a safe space for unlikely suspects to come together to discuss, reflect, exchange ideas and challenge each other. We believe that great ideas and actions for social change emerge from unlikely connections.

Stories of unusual suspects

Bringing together unlikely connections for social change — interweaving people, places and stories

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“It’s often people’s voices on the ground that don’t get heard and that’s what SIX enables. There is a really good range of practical, tangible ways to connect and understand what social innovation is all about.”

Orode Faka, Roehampton R.O.C.K.S., Unusual Suspects London 2017 collaborator

The idea of The Unusual Suspects Festival came to life when Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation brought together SIX and Collaborate. We explored together collaborative approaches to tackling complex social challenges. We asked ourselves: How do we start working outside our own bubbles and enable collaboration for social change? Explore more

We were invited by the Joseph Rowntree FoundationBig Lottery Fund Scotland and Nesta to host the Unusual Suspects Festival to Glasgow in 2015.  The Festival created spaces to discuss and develop new partnerships to tackle some of the city’s social challenges. Explore more

Social innovation has the potential to thrive in post conflict communities. We saw this first hand during the Unusual Suspects Festival in Northern Ireland, through a variety of approaches that were being used as a means to build trust, openness and dialogue across communities. The Festival in Northern Ireland explored hope and innovation in the context of a post-conflict society. Explore more

What connects us as human beings and what does it means to belong? The votes for Brexit and Trump the year before had left a palpable sense of frustration and powerlessness within the city. And the Grenfell tower disaster provided an environment for discussion about change and power. The Festival was about showing resilience and hope amongst each other in turbulent times. Explore more

In 2018, we took the Unusual Suspects Festival model out of the UK for the first time, to Seoul City. Seoul had fostered social innovation culture across the city, positioning itself as a “social innovation city” globally. The Festival in Seoul sought to connect different parts of the social innovation eco-system to connect and rediscover meaning in the movement. Explore more

The 2019 Festival in Seoul explored the topic of inclusion in the city. How can a city become more inclusive and be a place where different individuals and communities thrive and participate based on values of equality and empathy to each other? How can we value the different lived experiences of people in the city? Explore more

  • 2014

  • 2015

  • 2016
    Northern Ireland

  • 2017

  • 2018

  • 2019